30 April 2004 (AP)
HAMTRAMCK, Mich. - Five times a day area mosques in the small city of Hamtramck, Mich. will begin broadcast calls to prayer for Muslims. Supporters of the city council’s recent unanimous decision say the broadcasts are equivalent to church bells. Opponents say the calls to prayer elevate Islam over other religions represented in the community.
According to reports from Agape Press and the Christian Science Monitor, the prayer calls will be allowed despite the ethnic and religious friction generated by the proposed ordinance.
Hamtramck is a suburb of Detroit. The working class city of 23,000, has seen its Polish immigrant population diversify in recent years to become about one-third Muslim. Muslim residents are from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia.
Opponents of the ordinance say they will organize a petition drive to overturn the council’s decision. Meanwhile, the Al-Islah Islamic Center will broadcast at sunrise, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall, calls that last just over a minute, and include proclamations that translate as “Allah is the greatest,” “Mohammed is the messenger of Allah,” “Come to prayer," and "Come to success.”